I just watched the TV show “Glee” for the first time. I have avoided it, and secretly scoffed at it, because one of my deepest beliefs is: if it is popular, it is probably wrong. I was born with this skepticism. And my observations tend to confirm it. My thinking goes like this: “Glee” is popular and has rabid fans, therefore there is likely something wrong about it.
So. I just finished Season 1, Episodes 4 and 5 (my wife started watching it yesterday). Glee is equal parts thrilling and horrifying. The music is so, so good. Goose bumps every song. Every character is engaging, and the orchestration of the characters is inspired. Some of the lines are so funny that I dare not eat or drink while watching. Especially while Jane is talking! Spit-take!
However… both plots were convoluted messes. Not even enjoyable. Distracting. Confusing. Annoying.
But, oh, the music.
OK. Two more episodes. A new appreciation for the writing. The plots still leave A LOT of questions.
- Why does Mr. Shue want Rachel to leave Glee?
- Why does Sue hate the glee club?
- Why does Finn start liking Rachel all of a sudden?
- Why did Mr. Shue pick a pathological liar for a wife. Especially since he seems attracted to every woman his age?
- Why does the drama teacher yell at Rachel so much?
- Why does dancing magically make the football team win?
- Why would Finn believe he impregnated Quinn?
- C’mon. Do they really expect us to believe a school would hire Mrs. Shue as the school nurse?
Those are just a few questions. From just two episodes. I know that “suspension of belief” is a key part of film/TV watching. But this is ridiculous. The plots are soap opera parodies. Mixed with better-than-reality-show music.
In spite of plot absurdities, though, “Glee” feels like art. Like artists making art from start to finish. Creating, writing, acting, singing. Excellence, especially repeated excellence, gets noticed. I bet that’s why “Glee” has so many fans.
Note: Hollywood doesn’t even TRY to portray teaching accurately. But that is probably true for all professions. I would say, however, that teaching is different than any other profession. There is no other job that is as much a part of our lives. In childhood and adolescence (and beyond, depending on the degree you pursue) we spent every day with a teacher, interacting with us. No other job could be as big a part of our lives, even it wanted to.